Nintendo has been struck with a lawsuit by an intellectual property owner which claims to hold the rights to viewing glasses-free stereoscopic images. The IP owner, Tomita Technologies, founded by ex-Sony staffer Seijiro Tomita, reckons Nintendo's 3DS infringes on one of its patents, Patent Arcade reports. Stereoscopic patent …
Those lenticular post cards.
RE: Prior Art
Agreed. Especially since when I heard that Nintendo were doing a glasses free 3D display I immediately thought "sounds like they'll do doing something like a lenticular hologram". If it was obvious to me, shurely it was obvious to many ... can't patent something obvious, can you?
Re: can't patent something obvious, can you?
The answer is yes (if this case isn't an example then there are many other computer related patents that have dubious merit as a new idea).
The question is whether you can defend the idea in front of a judge or whether it is just easier to pay the plaintiff to go away and avoid the lawyers taking your money and your soul....
Nintendo uses parallax barrier technology developed by Sharp. Conceptually it is simpler than a lenticular lens but there are manufacturing hurdles. It's hard to tell from the patent diagram but it looks like they are illustrating some sort of electrically active layer between the LCD and the eye, whereas a parallax barrier is just a transparent sheet with a printed pattern.
so let me get this straight
This guy once thought up the idea of making a 3D screen that doesn't require special glasses, files the patent, but never actually built anything that uses that idea?
I already knew i didn't understand patents, but this makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
yes, that's how patents work. And always have.
If you have a good idea, a patent protects your idea from being implemented by someone else. While it would be nice to add a restriction that says "oh and you have to build it, too", you kind of need to tie such clauses to a timeline, and that's where it breaks down. It's not really fair to say "And you have to build this within five years or the patent expires" if, for instance, the machines that make the machines that make the machines that make your idea a real thing don't even exist yet. Five years might not be enough, and no patent office worked is qualified enough to determine, for each patent, what the expiry time should be. It would be interesting if patent law was changed so that a patent application must come with an applicant's estimate on how long they'll need to make the real thing, with an upper limit of, say, 10 years because if it's any longer the world will have passed you by already. However, registering a patent and then doing nothing with it has been common practice since the patent office opened. And US law was recently changed so that whoever got their patent first in a patent conflict, wins. Not whoever had the idea first. Whoever had the patent first. (the fact that it's easier for legislative system to alleviate symptoms, rather than solve problems, is a good indicator on how problematically big even a relatively small subfield like "patent law" is).
As far as I can see Tomita hasn't built this, so it's just an idea. Can't patent ideas => Patent rejected.
I'm often confused by patents, but I'm pretty sure that you can patent ideas. Isnt that kind of what they are?
Btw - the patent has already been accepted, and they don't need to have built it to be valid.
Lol...(well not really)
.....compensate it accordingly for the damage it believes Nintendo has done to it,
Well as it has no products for sale and never has done, then the damage it has caused by reduce their sales is, well $0.
I think that ALL patent claims should be dismissed unless a valid and legitimate use for said technology exists and is in production within 24 months of application. ie if your not going to use it you can't patent it.
Great way to shut small inventors out for good
In this day and age, few small inventors can manage to get production of any sort of real product going in 24 months. If the invention is for something complex enough, they may not be able to get production facilities going on their own at all - which means that they want to patent their invention, and then sell or license it to someone who can. This is perfectly reasonable, and large companies who think they can get around this by just using small inventors IP don't have any sympathy from me.
The problem is caused by the "patent trolls." The firms that do nothing buy buy up large quantities of patents and then sit on them, waiting for a chance to wring money out of anyone who tries to move forward with the tech. On the surface it's easy to tell the difference - if a person or company specializes in one area, has a modest patent profile, and is either owned by the inventor or employees more real engineers, etc. than attorneys, then they're probably legit. On the other hand, if they're mostly made up of attorney's and suits serving up notices to companies who violate their often questionable patents, they're probably a troll. But how do you write that into the law? What fair and balanced description would you use to separate the two that would hold up in a court?
The system is a mess, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn't the answer.
Hey, the place I was working had something very similar to this in about 2000. And we exhibited it publicly and explained to people how it worked.
There is loads of prior art!
Yup, Was: Nope
> As far as I can see Tomita hasn't built this, so it's just an idea. Can't patent ideas => Patent rejected.
Can't patent ideas but can patent methods and mechanisms ... you don't actually have to make the invention to patent it, you just need to be able to show how you (or someone "skilled in the art") could do so.
Isn't that just a picture of how eyes work?
Forget the 3D tech
I'm more concerned about the eyebrows on the person in the patent diagram.
Who the heck is Tomita?
I can't seem to find even a website for Tomita Technologies, and yet they've been holding the keys for 3D displays since 2003?!
I really miss the days when the patent office required you submit an exemplar device along with the application. So many seem to be of the "1) idea 2) some magic happens here 3) expected results" pattern that doesn't really say anything about how one gets from the idea to the results...
What if I filed a patent for a teleporter with a picture of a guy stepping into something, a wavy line and then him stepping out the other end. I could be quids in by the current patent system's rationale...
You'd be quids in in the US if anyone ever started manufacturing real teleporters without paying you a licence fee and if you also managed to avoid getting your own ass sued right off by whoever owns the rights for Star Trek. But...
Cost to humanity
Anyone want to have a guess as to how much our technological advancement has been hindered by patent laws?
I have nothing against people making money, but make that money for what you do not what you think you can do in the future.